Monday, December 9, 2013

Brad Pitt has Stopped Using Soap & Shampoo & So Have I

So, it's been in the news lately that Brad Pitt has Stopped Using Soap & Shampoo

My unwashed hair after 2 weeks.

Most articles and reports I've seen or heard have been silly gossip and ignorance, so don't bother looking for them.  But the fact is that we don't need all these chemical products we've been convinced to buy use, wash down the drain into our waterways and then dump the packaging into our landfills. Then buy more products to restore our skin & hair after the harm the cleansers did, wash down the drain into waterways, discard packaging into landfills, repeat. 

I've come to the conclusion that nearly every product in the skin & hair care aisle is there to treat a problem caused by some other product in the same aisle.  Not only do we not need them, they are bad for us.

Let Your Skin Function

As I've explained in my last post, your skin isn't dead leather & your sebum isn't dead grease. They are ecosystems for enzymes and other substances that play vital roles in skin function. Your sebum contains living cells that produce these substances. It protects and exfoliates. It inhibits DHT production which is a major factor in oily skin, acne and male pattern baldness.  It inhibits melatonin reducing hyperpigmentation, It produces retinoids & ceramides. All those things you pay big money for in moisturizers & creams. Ceramides & other lipids are also stripped away by cleansers.  Stripping your skin of all these things makes it hard for skin to function and causes the problems we then try to solve with more products.

I haven't used soap for anything but hand washing in about 2 years. Maybe 3. I didn't write it down. I am still constantly surprised by how soft my skin is and how much better it looks. And I get frequently comments on my lovely skin, which as a lifelong acne sufferer, always surprise me.  Sure, my skin is clear now, and it's not dry, flaky or wrinkled, but lovely? And comment worthy? That surprises me. (Reminder: No one looks as critically at your every flaw like you do! The don't even see those things you think are so horrible.) 

And before  you tell me how you have such oily skin this couldn't work for you, let me tell you, nobody has oilier skin and hair than I had. Nobody.  At least not back before my diet changes cleared my skin and made it just a bit on the oily side.

Now, not only do I not smell, I've had people ask me what perfume I was wearing.  And I don't wear perfume.  Perfumes give me headaches or make me nauseous. Sometimes both.  I use only a bit of oil and aloe vera for daily topical treatments. The only thing she could have been smelling was my hair conditioner I was using at that time, which couldn't possibly compete with a foul body odor if I had one. 

Which brings me to my next stage. No Shampoo.

My No Shampoo Story: Let Sebum be your Conditioner

Same hair in the best selfie I could do.
I'm so not photogenic
I'm still working this one out so will probably keep updating.  But here goes.  Background: I have fine thick tangly long hair that really shows the grease. For most of my post adolescent life, I not only washed my hair daily, I washed it in the morning so it would stay 'clean' throughout the day.  The night before didn't cut it. However, I had over the last few years--since my diet changes--been washing every other day, then every third day although it varied how 'dirty' it was that third day. I've off and on done the conditioner only method in which you wash with a cheap, no silicone hair conditioner.  A couple of months ago, I started the No-Poo method of washing with a teaspoon of baking soda in water then conditioning with a diluted Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. That method was fine at first, but doing it every three days left the ends dry and unmaneagable. Also, vinegar is a grease cutter (great in the kitchen & the grill). It loosens oil from the scalp, and maybe breaks it down and deposits the residue on my hair.  Whatever. The result was that the hair on the back of my head felt waxy and stiff.  I've never liked stiff hair. I could try putting it only on the ends, but I wanted to restore the PH of my scalp.  The only time my hair looked nice was in the week after I colored my hair and used the conditioner the color came with. I could go a whole week without washing at that time and my hair just fell into place. I didn't even need a hair brush in the first several days.

But those weeks without washing got me thinking of going water only.  I'd started bathing my dog with water only as he has skin problems too and I didn't want to impair his skin function.  It works pretty well for him. It removes the doggy odor and left his fur feeling clean & soft. Plus it's a lot faster, getting this horrible punishment over with quicker and eliminating the risk of not getting all the soap rinsed out causing itchier skin.  I wanted that too.

So, 4 weeks ago, I stopped using the baking soda and have only done water only.  I first went two weeks without washing. And let me tell you, it gets bad. Just put your hair up and get through it, because it miraculously gets better. For me it was bad for a couple of days near the end of the week. Really waxy & greasy. but about day 6 I woke up with lovely hair. By lovely, I mean it's shiny. It has body, something I've never had. It's not flyaway or frizzy. It seems thicker. And it doesn't tangle and I have always had horribly tangly hair.  I don't need conditioner, yet it's manageable all the time. I can get out of bed and just comb into place with my fingers. Now, it's not what I used to call clean, but since I'd been washing every three days and being a bit oily on that third day, I've adjusted that perception.

Now, here's my problem.  After 2 weeks including a week of lovely hair, I washed water only & had to go through the whole thing again with the really bad greasy period. Now, I did wash with very hot water as it's winter, my bathroom is cold and my tile tub surround just radiates cold at me. I can't stop myself from turning the temperature up in the shower.  I'm considering the conditioner only wash. Or washing in tepid water in the sink or kneeling outside the tub with the sprayer. I'm hoping to wash water only once a week or whenever needed to remove airborne soils & smells without going through the greasy period.

However, today it's time to color my hair again. So that's my experiment for the next two weeks. To see how my hair responds to that. The conditioner only will have to be a couple of weeks from now. The goal is to wash water only once a week or whenever needed to remove airborne soils & smells without going through the greasy period. I'll keep you informed.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Linoleic acid is a vital component in normal sebum that does what it is supposed to: Protect the skin.

Your skin isn't a dead leather outer wrapping and your sebum isn't a layer of dead grease. Both are composed of active living cells that perform many vital functions.  Soaps, cleansers and topicals prevent them from functioning. 

Linoleic acid is a vital component in normal sebum that does what it is supposed to: Protect the skin.  

 Skin and sebum in people (and other animals) prone to acne and other skin problems have been found to be deficient in linoleic Acid. Sebum deficient in linoleic acid is hard and sticky and clogs pores. It looks greasy and has fewer protective and anti-inflammatory properties.

Key points:
  • Acne and other problem prone skin (in people and animals) are lacking in linoleic acid.
    Linoleic acid is a component in the ceramides that make skin strong and impermeable and thus less easily ruptured and less sensitive to irritations.
  • This deficiency can be changed with topical application.
  • Grape seed and Safflower oil are over 70% linoleic acid.
  • Linoleic Acid inhibits the enzymes that convert Testosterone to DHT. Both types. So it can help with hirsutism, hairloss and acne.
  • Linoleic Acid is anti-inflammatory and protects the skin from UV damage.
  • Linoleic Acid inhibits melatonin and thus fades hyperpigmentation.
  • Linoleic acid is anti-microbial, as in anti P. Acnes blamed for acne formation.
  • Linoleic acid deficiency causes an increase in interluekin -1a which is a factor inflammatory response.
  • Tretinoin (Retin A & the like) alters the lipid profile improving the linoleic acid composition.
  • Linoleic Acid improves the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR) situation that regulates sebum production and hyperkeritinization/differenciation (and is what accutane affects)
  • Increase formation of Lamellar granules that produce the enzymes involved in normal exfoliation. They also form the armor that makes your skin strong. Acne prone skin has been found to contain fewer lamellar granules.
  • Thyroid hormones affects your lipid profile. One way that perhaps both hypo and hyperthyroid conditions affect acne.
  • We don't necessarily have a dietary or systemic deficiency in linoleic acid. Just in the sebum and thus a topical application is the best course of action. This tendency is genetic.
Examples of skin problems affected by a deficiency in linoleic acid include acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilares, hypersensitivity to allergens, and dry itchy sensitive skin of all types--aka dermatitis. This applies to all mammals, such as your itchy pet dog.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slaves to Sugar: History of Sugar article in National Geographic

Sugar Cane was first domesticated in Papau New Guinea 10,000 years ago.  It spread slowly reaching the Asian mainland around 1,000 BC.  By 500 AD it was being processed into white powder in India.  The Arabs perfected the technology and it was brought back to Europe by the British and French Crusaders. But so little trickled into Europe it was only consumed by the nobility and classified as a spice. And this was one of the spices they sought when Columbus and other explorers set off in search of a route to the East.  Columbus brought cane with him and thus the cultivation of sugar cane in the Caribbean. And the clearing of rainforests and the decimation of the native inhabitants.  And the slave trade, because growing and refining sugar cane is brutal work.   Throughout the Caribbean millions died in the fields and pressing houses or while trying to escape.  The Portuguese turned Brazil into an early boom colony with more than 100,000 slaves churning out tons of sugar.
On top of all this evil, there's the damage it does to your health.  Almost any of the major health conditions rampant today can be traced to the consumption of added sugar.  Because as more and more cane was planted, the price of the product fell. As the price fell, demand increased. Eventually, it became a staple for the middle class, and finally the poor.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How to Eat Well for Skin and Health while Indulging a Little

So Gynneth Paltrow has been advising people on how she eats well, but indulges on favorite foods.  

The things is, it isn't tricky.  And I don't understand why people make it so hard that they need Gwynneth's advice.

 What you do is eat mostly very well. And occasionally indulge a little. 

See? It's no so hard. Eat mostly real, whole nutritiously dense anti-inflammatory foods, as I've mentioned over and over in past posts such as the two below.  You do that. And a few Oreos won't hurt you. Although, I'll bet as you start eating better and trying quality foods, you won't like those Oreos so much anymore.  They don't compare to quality chococolate.

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Clear (and Wrinkle Free) Skin

What To Do for Clear Skin: The Basics

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Make Yourself Some Treats That are Good for your Skin

No need to avoid all treats. There are hundreds of ways you can make perfectly healthy alternatives to commercial boxed snacks or sugary traditional homemade recipes.

Here's a few to get your started. 
Plate of Healthy Oat and Banana Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Perfectly Healthy Banana Cookies

The basic recipe calls for 2 ingredients, a couple of overripe bananas and a cup of quick cooking oats, place by the spoonful on a greased cookie sheet and bake just like other drop cookies.  But it's easy change it up.  Other than the first time, I've never actually followed that recipe. And actually, since I placed a dark chocolate chip in the center of each cookie, I didn't follow it then.  Most of the time now, I mix the bananas with dried coconut instead of or in addition to the oats,  and add ginger and dried fruit.  Whatever you do, add a little bit of sea salt. This really is essential to flavor.

Make good dark chocolate healthier:

Coconut, Seed and Nut Dark Chocolate Bark

Melting good low sugar dark chocolate with coconut, nuts and seeds to increase nutrients and lower the glycemic impact.  (Fats and fiber slow the absorption of sugars, always have some when indulging in dessert.)  I sprinkle a single not quite solid layer of chocolate on the bottom of silicone cake pan and microwave on half power for a minute at a time until pretty well melted.  Then sprinkle on coconut and  sprouted sunflower seeds, another of my staples, and usually raw cacao nibs. And a slight sprinkling of coarse sea salt. And stir it all in with a spoon. Then pop into the fridge to chill.  When solid, break into pieces.  The cacao nibs increases the cacao content of my already dark chocolate treat. If you want a sweeter treat, you can add some dried fruit. Another tip is to leave a whole in the center before microwaving as the chocolate in the center is liable to burn before the rest melts.

Better than Pie Sauteed Fruit

Slice and saute apples, peaches, pears or other fruit in a little butter, just until slightly soft. Don't overcook to retain nutrients.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or whatever spice you like with that fruit.  I like Chinese 5 Spice Powder with the peaches.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts if you like.

Frozen Bananas Taste Just Like Banana Ice Cream

You save your over ripe bananas in the freezer, right?  If not, you should be.

If you cut bananas in chunks before freezing, you can easily drop a few in your blender with some berries for berry flavored ice cream, cocoa for chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, dark chocolate....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Living A Long And Healthy Life

Avoiding Glycation, Methylation, Oxidation and Inflammation are the Keys to a Long and Healthy Life

The evidence is strong that glycation is closely involved in most if not all degenerative diseases and in aging. Dealing with this and the three other '-ations' -- methylation, oxidation and inflammation- should be a priority for anyone concerned with living a fulfilling life with minimal illness.

The methylation is about gene expression and epigenetics.  Your genes don't control everything happening in your body. Your genetic expression does. And that can be changed by your diet and lifestyle.

To put it simply, Glycation is caused by sugars drifting around in your blood stream.  Every time you consume more sugar than your cells can take in, damage occurs.

Again, to put it simply, Oxidation is caused by free radicals from smoke, exhaust, pollution, stress, too much sunlight, prolonged extreme physical exertion (anyone running any marathons?) common topicals and pharmeceuticals like benzoyl peroxide.

And chronic inflammation is caused by all the above, other inflammatory foods and abdominal fat.  In addition to added sugar, hydrogenated and trans fats are examples of other inflammatory foods to avoid.  This means avoiding nearly all commercially baked goods as they nearly always contain crisco, margarine and the like, or are fried in oils that become trans fats at frying temperatures, or just plain shouldn't be consumed, period.  Vegetable oil and shortening doesn't come from vegetables, btw.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Studies into How Isotretinoin Clears Acne Reveal Dietary Impact on Biological Pathways that Lead to Acne

In addition to the many ways diet and lifestyle affects your acne by affecting the function of the various organs involved in managing hormones and inflammation: liver, gut, adrenals, thyroid, brain, etc.  There are some pathways and systems involved.  Both of the below are recent studies looking into how isotretinoin tends to clear acne.  Because they've been prescribing it to children for a couple of decades without really know what it does.

mTORC1 Signaling:

Dietary intervention in acne: Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet -1

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the endocrine signaling of Western diet, a fundamental environmental factor involved in the pathogenesis of epidemic acne. Western nutrition is characterized by high calorie uptake, high glycemic load, high fat and meat intake, as well as increased consumption of insulin- and IGF-1-level elevating dairy proteins. Metabolic signals of Western diet are sensed by the nutrient-sensitive kinase, mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), which integrates signals of cellular energy, growth factors (insulin, IGF-1) and protein-derived signals, predominantly leucine, provided in high amounts by milk proteins and meat...

It is conceivable that isotretinoin may downregulate mTORC1 in sebocytes by upregulation of nuclear levels of FoxO1.

Fox01 Deficiency

The role of transcription factor FoxO1 in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris and the mode of isotretinoin action. 2

QuoteNuclear FoxO1 deficiency is the result of increased growth factor signaling with activated phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt kinase during growth hormone signaling of puberty and increased insulin/IGF-1 signaling due to consumption of insulinotropic milk/dairy products as well as hyperglycemic carbohydrates of Western diet.

1-  The full text of this study is available here.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Peer Reviewed Studies Showing the Relationship between Acne and High Glycemic Diets, Dairy and Insulin-like Growth Factor 1.

Here's a list of Peer Reviewed Studies and Papers that Illustrate the Relationship between Diet and Acne.

Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the
pathogenesis of acne vulgaris

Takeaway:  The hormone IGF-1 is stimulated by insulin and in dairy and is a major factor in acne formation.

Short-term isotretinoin treatment decreases insulin-like growth factor-1 and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 levels

Takeaway: Isotretinoin, aka Accutane,  works by decreasing IGF-1, which you could instead reduce by avoiding a high glycemic diet and by limiting dairy neither of which have dangerous side effects.

 Insulin & Glucose role on Sex Hormone production http://www.ncbi.nlm....ist_uids=193114  

This is a study on men with heart disease, but resulted in one of the earlier discoveries in the relation ship between insulin and hormones.  

Takeaway:  Insulin and glucose stimulate hormone production. Excess insulin and glucose means excess hormones. 

Acne in Adolescence and Cause-specific Mortality: Lower Coronary Heart Disease but Higher Prostate Cancer Mortality  (Scary title, I know).

This is a Study on the relationship between acne and prostrate cancer. Because many of the same hormones, IGF1 and Androgens are involved in both conditions.   The researchers discuss the role of diet on these hormones

Diet, serum insulin-like growth factor-I and IGF-binding protein-3 in European women

Takeaway: Once again, another study finds diet affects the hormones involved in acne.

Decreased serum insulin-like growth factor I response to growth hormone in hypophysectomized rats fed a low protein diet: evidence for a postreceptor defect

Diet, insulin-resistance and chronic inflammation

Acne and chronic inflammation (and Delayed Type Hypersensitivity (allergy)

Inflammation and insulin resistance

There's a growing renewed interest in the diet acne connection and that in addition to studies on acne, they utilize data on other conditions with known connections to the factors involved in acne:

Other article summarizing some connections
http://www.cancersup.....Diet Acne.pdf

Study on diet affecting PMS

For Mor:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Aloe Vera Gel Stimulates Collagen Production, Increases Skin Elasticity, and Reduces Wrinkles

Researchers Find that a Small Daily Dose of Aloe Vera Gel Works Wonders on Wrinkles and Elasticity.

In a study done at Seoul National University Boramae Hospital, researchers found that an oral dose as small as  of Aloe Vera significantly improves wrinkles and elasticity in photoaged human skin, with an increase in collagen production both by upregulating procollagen and down regulating collagen degrading gene expression.

The study was performed on 30 females over the age of 45.  They received two different doses, however, the study found no significant increase in benefit from the larger dose.  And the larger dose is a bit less than one teaspoon! The lower dose is about one quarter of a teaspoon.

Consuming Aloe Vera to Improve Skin 

You do need to purchase aloe vera gel that is intended to be ingested from a health food, vitamin stores and the health food section of many grocery stores. Not the gels found in the sunscreen and moisturizer aisles.  Those might be 100% gel, but they aren't 100% aloe vera.  Better yet, grow your own.

Store it in the refrigerator and simply add it to your favorite beverage.  I recommend green smoothies made from greens and fruit you desire for the skin and health benefitting magnesium, caratenoids and multitude of other nutrients found in greens. They don't call them superfoods for nothing. Throw in a blender. You may also add yogurt or kefir, avocado, flax seed, nut or seed butter. Recipes are endless but I make them out of whatever I have on hand.  You can also make a savory one with herbs and spices. Instead of sweet fruits, try tomatoes and cucumber for a gazpacho like drink. Blending breaks down cell walls and starts enzyme actions. Both of these increase the amount of nutrients your body absorbs.  It's a great way to get both the greens and raw foods you should have daily.

Numerous Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel to Skin and Health

Aloe vera has numerous other benefits. Taken orally it helps to restore mucin linings of your digestive tract damaged by gluten and other anti-nutrients and lowers blood sugar (which also benefits your skin). It also improves periodontal disease.

Topically, it's a fabulous, soothing for numerous skin ailments and injuries from acne, rosacea and psoriasis to rashes and burns.  Years ago, after first being diagnosed with rosacea, I used a prescription topical treatment. When it ran out, I discovered that Aloe Vera gel worked just as well.  And later I found diet worked even better. 

It's even a fabulous hair gel.  I only use it to tame flyaways when I have my hair pulled back, but I've heard from others that have a more serious hair gel need that it does really work.

Monday, May 20, 2013

You can't blame your Genes

You can't blame your genes for your Acne, Your wrinkles, Your metabolism.  Your tendency towards Cancer and other Disease.  Not entirely.

 The Human Genome Project was completed over ten years ago.   And yet, this little detail is still so unknowm.  After the mapping was done, it turns out we have far fewer genes than previously thought. Not nearly enough to account for all the activity going on in your body.  There are only 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA, not the hundreds of thousands previously suspected.


There are not even enough genes in the human body to account for the existence of the basic protein building blocks that make it possible, much less explain the behavior of these proteins in health and disease states!

The "blueprint" model of genetics: one gene -> one protein -> one cellular behavior, which was once the holy grail of biology, has now been supplanted by a model of the cell where epigenetic factors (literally: "beyond the control of the gene") are primary in determining how DNA will be interpreted, translated and expressed. A single gene can be used by the cell to express a multitude of proteins and it is not the DNA itself that determines how or what genes will be expressed.

Rather, we must look to the epigenetic factors to understand what makes a liver cell different from a skin cell or brain cell. All of these cells share the exact same 3 billion base pairs that make up our genetic code, but it is the epigenetic factors, e.g. regulatory proteins and post-translational modifications, that make the determination as to which genes to turn on and which to silence, resulting in each cell's unique phenotype.

Moreover, epigenetic factors are directly and indirectly influenced by the presence or absence of key nutrients in the diet, as well as exposures to chemicals, pathogens and other environmental influences. Thoughts and emotions also play a role in how these epigenetic factors are articulated.

****In a nutshell, what we eat and what we are exposed to in our environment directly affects our DNA and its expression.*****

Take cystic fibrosis

In CF many of the adverse changes that result from the defective expression of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene may be preventable or reversible, owing to the fact that the misfolding of the CFTR gene product has been shown to undergo partial or full correction (in the rodent model) when exposed to phytochemicals found in turmeric, cayenne, and soybean. Moreover, nutritional deficiencies of seleniun, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin e, etc. in the womb or early in life, may "trigger" the faulty expression or folding patterns of the CFTR gene in Cystic Fibrosis which might otherwise have avoided epigenetic activation.

The implications of these findings are rather extraordinary: epigenetic and not genetic factors are primary in determining disease outcome. Even if we exclude the possibility of reversing certain monogenic diseases, the basic lesson from the post-Genomic era is that we can't blame our DNA for causing disease. Rather, it may have more to do with what we choose to expose our DNA to, and even more surprisingly: how we choose to think and feel about our embodiment.

And please, remember when speaking with  your doctors that they are likely still operating under the pre-genomic mapping beliefs  they were taught in med school. Much like how your dermatologist still believes that diet has nothing to do with acne despite the research that goes back decades showing that diet does indeed have a huge affect on acne.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who Cooks Your Food may be a one of the Most Important Factors to your Health

Micheal Pollan has a new book out called Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. 

the gist of this book, as he said in a recent Stephen Colbert interview, is that the biggest factor in the health of your diet is who cooks your food, a corporation or a person you know.  

Just stay away from the chemical-filled ultra-processed  imitation food from Nabisco, General Mills, Nestle, Hershey, Kraft, Pepsi, Coke, Hormel, Tyson, ConAgra, etc.  And big chain restaurants.   If it's advertized on TV you probably don't want to eat it.

"Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Protect skin from Sun Damage--Eat lots of anti-oxidant rich foods.

Routine consumption of all kinds of anti-oxidant rich foods:

lycopene (cooked tomatoes and some pink/red fruits like watermelon, pink guava)
Green tea -  which can also be applied topically. Make a green tea/ACV toner.
Linoleic acid- use a quality oil for a moisturizer or for oil cleansing.
Cacao - cocoa, dark chocolate
Proanthocyanids found in purple/black berries, fruits, tea, cocoa, purple cabbage and purple onions.

The best sun blocks include zinc and clothing. 

After sun exposure, you can apply a source of vitamin C, green tea, aloe vera.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Doctors and other Experts Admitting the Diet and Acne Connection

Contrary to what the average American dermatologist tells you, diet affects acne in so many ways. It isn't possible for it not to. Many, not-so-average, doctors know this and researchers have been proving it for decades.  

I've had that statement at the top of my blog since I started. I think it's time I posted the list I've been gathering of those doctors and other experts. Most of these are over a year old. I haven't come across a new one lately. If you have, please let me know. 

Dr Arthur Agatston, the doctor who created the South Beach Diet and an important cardiologist, prescribes a low to moderate glycemic load diet for acne. 

In a survey of South Beach dieters, a mainstream moderately low Glycemic diet, 86% reported improvement in their acne.  

Here are some others:

Dr. Leslie Bauman, author of bestseller The Skin Type Solution, professor and Director of Dermatology at the U of Miami and textbook author, mainstream doctor  recommends a low Glycemic Load, anti-oxidant rich diet for acne. 

In the book and in her website and blogs. In this blog post, she also admits to dairy containing the same hormones (IGF-1) that cause acne.

In  another blog post she explains how sugar/high GL, inflammatory diet ages your skin and causes wrinkles.

Doctor Oz, when asked by audience members will briefly mention how a high glycemic food can stimulate oil and exacerbate acne.  

In one episode he had as guests:
Dr Arthur Agatston,
OB/GYN Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is a more interested in diet and lifestyle than drugs and surguries.

And Dr. Perricone, a dermatologist and nutritionist well known for talking about diet for healthy skin and has a book called something like the Acne Prescription Diet. 

And so when Dr. Oz asked Dr. Perricone about anti-inflammatory diets and acne, Perricone confirmed that such diets clear skin. And then Dr. Oz asked the other two if they'd noticed the same thing in their practice, and they both confirmed that they had. 

Then when it was Dr Agatston's turn, he brought up the survey done on South Beach dieters that showed dieters experienced clearer skin.  


Dermatologists, Dr William Danby and Dr. Valori Treloar, who were interviewed in the articles below,  advocate no dairy and a low-glycemic diet for acne. 

A Clear Connection? Most dermatologists tell their patients diet plays no role in acne. New research suggests that's wrong.

How a pint of milk a day can give you acne

One article states, "Treloar and Danby say they can count on both hands the number of US dermatologists and researchers who lend their voices and efforts to helping prove a food-acne connection." That statement alone shows that the diet-acne connection isn't being taken seriously. Until that changes, when it comes to diet, people are better off listening to the experiences of other acne sufferers and their conclusions or to the few derms that believe in the diet-acne connection!

Now.... if only the derms would investigate the role of cruciferous veggies and their powerful ability to help clear skin!!  

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is one doctor who admits to cruciferous vegetables being crucial in the recovery of his patients with acne.

Acne: Diet a Major Determining Factor 


Jillian Michaels, trainer on The Biggest Loser and author of Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!  names acne, PMS, fatigue, among the symptoms of poor hormone regulation.

Article and excerpt from her book 
And a video of her Today show appearance. 

Nutritionist Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Dietary Cure for Acne

Dr. Cordain is a Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 15 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain's scientific publications have examined the nutritional characteristics of worldwide hunter-gatherer diets as well as the nutrient composition of wild plant and animal foods consumed by foraging humans. Over the past five years his work has focused upon the adverse health effects of the high dietary glycemic load that is ubiquitous in the typical western diet. A number of his recent papers have proposed an endocrine link between dietary induced hyperinsulinemia and acne., wikipedia article.

Dr. Joseph Mercola:

"Plagued by Pimples?" 


Dr. Mark Hyman


Dr Jeanette Graf.  I Don't know anything about her except she appeared on CBS national news and spent most of the time talking about mainstream OTC and prescription treatments so she's mainstream, not at all holistic. And big enough to do a spot on national news. At the end, she does mention diet and stress. Specifically saying they affect hormones and that there are studies showing dairy and sugars affect acne. 

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Dermatology researchers Dr George Varigos, and Associate Professor Mann - conductors of probably our most well known studies demonstrating the connection between high Glycemic diets and acne. And several years back, there were people here on the board conversing with them as they completed the study. They had such high hopes about getting the word out to everyone and making this common knowledge. It was in quite a few publications, but not enough. 


Not a doctor but a mainstream skin care expert, Paula Begoun aka the Cosmeticscop is now telling people that there is a diet connection. After many years of telling people diet had no affect.

The Diet & Skin Connection: From Acne to Wrinkles!

"Are we what we eat? In essence, yes! The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on how your skin looks, how it ages, and how it heals. Find out what to add to your diet, and what to avoid. It's a critical step in having the skin you've always wanted! "  View article »  

However, she says conflicting things on various pages on her website which changes all the time so do the links.  Elsewhere the site says the only way diet affects acne is if you are intolerant to some food, which is actually just one of the many ways diet affects acne. But, at least she admits to a food intolerance connection there. Not many 'experts' do.

Integrative Dermatologists

So, now there's a group calling themselves Integrative Dermatologists. Integrative medicine is about doctors that know how important nutrients are to bodily function and illness, unlike the average doctor that only has a vague idea that nutrients are good while being quite certain that what you really need is some drugs. The site doesn't have much info on it. They are selling a book and appointments. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Split Pea and Coconut Soup - filled with high antioxident spices!  And as I always say, add some chopped greens to wilt at the end of cooking.  And I'd use dried coconut.  See the dried coconut/coconut flour thread:
  • 2 cups green or yellow split peas, rinsed and soaked in cold water 2 to 3 hours
  • 1 -- (14-ounce) can light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced cilantro stems
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped red potato, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 to 2 -- limes, cut into wedges
  • Drain peas, place in a large saucepan and add 4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Peas should be whole, but tender.
  • Combine coconut milk, onion, ginger, cilantro stems, curry paste and celery in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes; simmer until potatoes are almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add peas, fish sauce and salt. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges
Read more:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Anti-Aging Vocabulary Lesson

Glycation - a process in which protein or fat molecules bond to simple sugar molecules creating advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are implicated in aging, heart disease and diabetes. This is what happens when you consume more sugar than your cells need and will take in. the sugar keeps circulating around in your bloodstream doing damage until it gets back to the liver where it gets turned to triglycerides which raises your LDL especially the small particle LDL that damages arteries and excess triglycerides are stored in the liver causing fatty liver disease.

Telomeres - tiny units of DNA that cap the end of each chromosome. They shorten with time because they cannot replicate completely each time the cell divides. Eventually, the telomeres are gone and the cell can no longer be replicated. And you age and die. Some people start out with longer telomeres than others. Short telomeres can be indicators of risk for various diseases.

Free radicals and oxidative stress shorten telomeres and thus shortens your life: smoking, pollution, stress, extreme exercise, etc. The right kinds of exercise such as interval training and walking/chores, etc lenthen them. As does glutationine which is manufactured by your body from sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine and plant compounds such as those abundant in onions, cabbage, and garlic.

Other nutrients that lengthen telomeres include vitamin D, B12, Omega 3 EFAs, Zinc, Vitamin C, E, polyphenols in grapes, cacao and green tea, curcumin (tumeric), beta carotenes, Magnesium, CoQ10, etc. Really, anything that reduces or prevents oxidative stress. Anything that's an anti-oxidant, anything that boost the immune system, anything that reduces inflammatory response.  Also anything that prevents or repairs damage to DNA such as magnesium and CoQ10.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Clear Skin Vocabulary Lesson

Here's a whole lot of big words you'll see over and over if you ever care to do your own research into acne formation.  These describe the real root of the problem. Sebum and bacteria don't clog your pores. Dead skin cells do.


Your skin cells, basically. They make up the majority of the cells in the outermost layer of your epidermis.  Keratin is a protein in your skin, hair and nails.


An over production of cells. You'll also see this term in research into cancer.


Over production of skin cells. This is what we suffer from.


The natural elimination of cells from the SC


Programmed cell death.


Patches that hold skin cells together

Retention Hyperkeratosis 

Rapid build up of cells in the follicles and the subsequent inability of the body to slough off those skin cells thereby creating a tough, glue-like substance leading to follicular blockage. Studies have found that individuals suffering from acne lack the necessary enzymes to break down the cellular glue that leads to the blockage. Since the follicle is blocked it provides the perfect “non-oxygenated” environment for P Acnes bacteria


Over production of skin cells plus a delay in, or impairment of apoptosis (- programmed cell death) in keratinocytes that prevents the desmosomes (patches that hold cells together) from disintegrating at a normal pace allowing them to become extra rough and 'sticky' and more likely to clog pores. This tendency is genetically influenced.

Keratin Buildup is linked to skin conditions such as acne, keratosis pilaris, allergies, eczema, dermatitis, ichthyosis vulgaris,  and sebhorreic keratosis, as well as other conditions such as rhinitis and asthma.

Hyperkeratinization is stimulated by the hormone IGF-1 or Insulin-like Growth Factor 1.

IGF-1 production is stimulated by insulin and is in Dairy. Excess IGF1 can be bound up by IGFBP-3 (insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3)  another hormone that also accelerates cell apoptosis .  You can increase your levels by controlling insulin levels. Pretend you are a diabetic and eat, sleep and exercise accordingly.

Chronic Inflammation also stimulates hyperkeratinization via  interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha),  a pro-inflammatory cytokene expressed by your keratinocytes.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Young, Glowing, Healthy Looking Skin -- How to Fake it Until You Make It.

A healthy diet is essential to healthy skin.  

But until you get there, here's how to fake it.  With oil! I highly recommend you moisturize with oil.  Apply it a few drops to wet skin or with wet fingers to easily apply a  very small amount.  And then, you get a dab more oil on a couple of fingers and pat at the top of your cheekbones, away from your nose.  Shine on top of your cheekbones looks fresh, dewy and young. Shine near or on your nose and forehead looks greasy. You can do this on top of your makeup.

Ideally, you want to use a fresh, quality, properly stored Safflower or Grapeseed Oil, but if you have a good olive oil, hemp seed, camellia, almond or other oil on had, feel free.  The reason for the other oil recommendations is that they are high in linoleic acid, a major and vital component of sebum that does what it is supposed to do, protect and make your skin glow. Rather than look greasy and clog pores.  A deficiency in linoleic acid in sebum leads to a variety of skin problems including acne. And the sebum in people with skin problems has been found to be deficient.  When you apply it topically it spreads throughout your sebaceous glands, changing your lipid makeup. This actually applies to all mammals, so if you have a dog with itchy sensitive skin, try it on him too.  I do, and it has worked wonders. Examples of skin problems affected by a deficiency in linoleic acid include acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilares, hypersensitivity to allergens, and dry itchy sensitive skin of all types--aka dermatitis.

The reason I stress high quality and proper storage is that most plant oils are high in polyunsaturated fats which are very prone to turning rancid. And the average oil in the average supermarket is likely already going rancid. (Careful with them in your diet as well!). A quality oil should come in a dark bottle or tin. If the manufacturer of the oil doesn't put it in a dark bottle, they don't care about the quality of their product. Buy it from someplace where there is a high turnover. Or where it's kept refrigerated, ideally in the dark.  And once you get it, put a few ounces in a dark bottle for your regular use and keep the rest in the refrigerator.

You can find all my research on the role of linoleic acid in acne here:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Acne Story - 30 Years Before I Discovered Diet Would Clear My Skin

It just occurred to me that I should tell you about myself.   So, here goes.  I began getting acne at age 10. Fifth Grade. Just when kids are starting to enter their mean phase. It began on my forehead as teen acne often does. To the best of my recollection and a few photos, it was pretty inflamed probably because I picked at it.  I wasn't taken to a dermatologist until my later teens when I began the antibiotics and harsh topicals that never helped.   Prior to that my mother thought I just needed to wash my face. My skin was grotesquely oily.  I'd feel like my skin was melting before the end of the school day.  I began getting it all over my face, chest, back, upper arms, neck.  So for about 10 years, I saw various dermatologists who gave me various antibiotics and topicals none of which ever helped. Finally I tried accutane, but two courses also did nothing except give me chapped lips.  So I mostly gave up for many years after that.

When I was about 25, I had a coworker who had perfect skin except for occasional nodules on her chin. One day she pointed them out saying she 'had two big glasses of orange juice at breakfasts his weekend and look at my skin!!'  I had been having oranges everyday as an afternoon snack and my skin had gotten worse.   So I avoided oranges and most other citrus and the vast majority of my giant inflamed nodules went away.  It would be many more years before I would figure out that while I could have lemons and Persian limes, I was intolerant to key limes which I randomly bought and so I had nodules off and on.  And I still had grotesquely oily skin and other forms of acne on my face, chest and back.  Oh, and then I developed rosacea in my late 20s.

Note: Nodules, along with cysts, are considered the two most severe, disfiguring forms of acne. Big, red and slow to heal.  I usually refer to them both as cysts as people are more familiar with that term, but technically I got nodules which unlike cysts, don't contain pus.

Also Note:  I am not suggesting that oranges cause acne in everyone and that everyone should avoid them.  But it is fairly common to be allergic to citrus and it's something you might test for yourself. I have encountered quite a few others that also break out in cysts or nodules from citrus. And in fact, I have a suspicion that this type of acne is a reaction to some kind of food or perhaps environmental intolerance and not true acne at all. Especially if they appear in the same part of your face or body over and over.  Remind me to explain to you about delayed type allergic response and the various antibodies involved in your immune response besides those that cause the immediate reactions most people are familiar with and all most allergists are concerned about. 

Also, Just so you know, the citrus caused nodules primarily all along my hairline, jawline and neck, but I also got them elsewhere and have the scars to prove it. I think different citrus cause my acne in different places. When I tried having a tangerine a couple of years ago, I got one on my scar covered temples and I hadn't had a pimple there in many years.  (Your temples scar easily)

Then, nearing my 40th birthday, and shortly after my now ex-husband was diagnosed with diabetes, I started learning about diet and the post prandial affects of a high glycemic meal and the importance of various nutrients.  And I just 'got' that we can not be eating this way.  If we hadn't invented added sugar and refined carbs, we would almost never elevate our insulin the way the typical American does today.  The Standard American Diet aka SAD diet has become incredibly bad and is the root cause of most of the degenerative diseases that have become some of the fasted spreading diseases in history.  And they are self inflicted.

So, despite being a Coke-aholic, I quit drinking it and any other sugary drink cold turkey and began improving my diet, removing empty calories in favor of the most nutrient dense foods.  My skin cleared completely in less than two months!!  It was only after this that I could make the key lime connection. Still, the nodules I got from the key limes were much smaller, much less inflamed and much faster to heal due to my anti-inflammatory and nutrient rich diet habits.  And as a bonus, this diet also keeps my rosacea under control.

I now don't follow a perfect diet. Just a mostly very, very good diet.  I cheat pretty often, daily in fact. But most of my meals are very nutrient rich and low glycemic.  The only thing I'm strict about is never drinking sugar.  And I keep my skin clear most of the time and my skin is now just on the slightly oily side and glowing.

(Remind me to also tell you about sebum quality that makes the difference between sebum that protects skin and makes it glow versus sebum that looks greasy and clogs pores.)

Be sure to see my prior posts about anti-inflammatory diets, the damage caused by excess sugar, and my basic How to eat for clear skin.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wine Steamed Kale

Interesting technique I just came across. You basically saute onions in wine instead of oil, then add kale to wilt.  I'll have to try this.  I used to saute spinach with grapes until the grapes burst and the spinach is just barely wilted. It's delicious. And I always thought it would be a great way to get kids to eat their spinach.  But I don't have kids.  Another thing that makes kale or other greens delicious is leeks. I love leeks. Saute until they are bit brown and add your greens to wilt.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Warm up with a hot, spicy bowl of vitamin A for your skin

You know all those retinoid creams and lotions you pay big bucks for to reduce the signs of aging or treat acne?  Well your skin makes it! If you provide it with the nutrients.  Get your beta carotene from sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, greens. Yes, greens. Just because they aren't orange doesn't mean they aren't loaded with beta carotene. They just also contain a lot of other nutrients that come in other colors.

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup, with greens.

This recipe originated with Nigella Lawson which is why it's in grams. I don't have a scale, but that's ok, I don't really follow the recipe anyway. I usually use the baked sweet potatoes I always have on hand in winter because I turn the oven on to take the chill off the house and pop in a few. They are my go to lunch and used to make pancakes and soup.  I also use poblano peppers rather than red for a slight bit of heat. (bell peppers should be organic and they are hard to find) And I add turmeric and curry spices. And spinach at the end of cooking. Because I add spinach or other green to just about everything. And you should too. Keep a bag of organic chopped frozen spinach on hand so you can easily add it to everything.

 Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

25g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 crushed clove of garlic,
1 tablespoon ground coriander
450g grated sweet potato
2 chopped red peppers.
700ml vegetable stock
400 g can of coconut milk.

Serves: 2

Melt the butter in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic over a low heat until soft. Add the coriander and cook for 1 minute. Add the sweet potato and pepper, cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil; cover then simmer for around 20 minutes. Allow to cool a little then puree Return to the pan, add the coconut milk, heat gently until piping hot then serve.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Your Acne Worse in Winter? Skin Drier?

Apply Yogurt to Soothe Winter Skin
Increase ceramide production in your skin with yogurt.
You've probably seen them in the ingredient list on many moisturizers.  Ceramides are natural lipids that are found in high concentrations within cell membranes. They make skin strong and impermeable and thus less easily ruptured and less sensitive to irritations. The amount of ceramides in your skin are lower in winter, making you more susceptible to whatever skin ailments you are prone to--such as acne.  It weakens your epidermal barrier making your skin more sensitive and affects how skin cells are formed, die and exfoliate freely without clogging pores.

You can improve all these things by applying plain live-culture yogurt to your skin topically.  A study found an increase in ceramide production and reduction in inflammation after 7 days of topical use yogurt. And a reduction in acne.  Some strains of the beneficial bacteria also secrete peptides, another thing you've no doubt seen on your moisturizer bottle.  And then moisturize with plant oils such as safflower, grapeseed or hemp seed to make up for the loss of the lipid barrier.

For more info see the study which is primarily about the importance of probiotic cultures in your digestive tract:
Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis - back to the future? 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Garden--Eating Well Can Be Cheap

Filled with greens, onions and herbs.  The plants are actually much bigger and prettier now. Soon, I'll have to post a picture of my vertical Strawberry planter sitting in one of the few other tiny patches of sunlight.
Picture of my garden filled with acne and disease fighting greens, onions, herbs and leeks
It's a small raised bed at the very edge of my front yard, the only spot that gets enough sun year round in my home that faces entirely the wrong direction at angles to the sun. That's the neighbor's driveway. It was built this past October with the help from Transition Houston in a program they call a Permablitz--the group spends one day doing various permaculture and sustainable projects around your home.

A raised bed garden like this can be trouble free for years if you follow a few simple tips. You don't even have to remove sod. Just put down many layers of newspaper or one layer of corrugated cardboard right on top of your lawn. Then arrange your cinder blocks, timbers or whatever you are going to use. Fill with good soil. Plant. Run a soaker or drip hose around your plants.

Many food producing plants are quite attractive and there's no reason not to include them in your landscape.  Greens, sweet potatoes, pea and bean vines and blueberry bushes are some examples of truly lovely plants. Tomatoes can be made more atractive if you use nice trellises to support them. Put flowers here and there to pretty up the space.  Marigolds repel many pests. Nasturtiums are edible.

I've yet to eat much from this garden though, as I get more fruits, greens and other veggies than I can eat for free each week in exchange for 2 hours volunteer work at a community supported farming and organic coop.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Add Ginger to Your Diet

Ginger and it's many anti-inflammatory health benefits for acne and health.

Ginger isn't just delicious, it is filled with beneficial compounds that have been found to aid common ailments such as nausea, cramps, headache, and joint and muscle pains.  And it prevents and and relieves symptoms and complications of the common cold as well as more serious conditions such as diabetes, stroke, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer.  It's antibacterial, antifungal and helps clear intestinal parasites.  There has even been research that finds it effective in treating heartworms in dogs. 1

Most of its benefits are due to it being a powerful anti-inflammatory.  And remember, we want to reduce inflammation for clear, acne free, youthful skin.

And like I said, it's delicious.  The two easiest ways to make ginger a habit are to carry candied ginger with you to ward off nauseau and various aches and pains. And to add it to your drinks.  The simplest recipe is to put about 1 cubic inch of ginger in a cup of boiling water for ginger tea.  Or do what I do and add a few slices to my morning cup of green tea or my evening cup of chamomile. I  nibble on the slices after finishing my tea.

Ginger tips:

  • Peel ginger by scraping the skin off with the back of a spoon.
  • You can freeze it to keep peeled and sliced ginger on hand ready to drop into your tea. Or you can leave it in small chunks. Once defrosted it is soft and you can squeeze the juice into your drink.
  • Freeze grated ginger in logs making it easy to break off just what you need for your stir fry!  Spread a row of grated ginger a couple inches thick on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Roll up and pop in the freezer. 
  • Some people claim good results from applying the juice topically to an inflamed pimple. I shall try to remember to try this next time I get one.  There is research into the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of topical ginger.

Drink Recipes:

Sassy Water

This recipe is part of the Flat Belly diet. It's delicious and has good stuff in it. Anti-inflammatory and good for digestion. It's meant to reduce bloating.

2 liters water (about 8 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber. peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

Iced Ginger-Green Tea
Both green tea and ginger have fat-blasting properties. The green tea contains nutrients that help block fat absorption. And both the tea and ginger help raise metabolism and help your body utilize carbs more efficiently.

12 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger
4 tbsp loose green tea or 12 bags
3 cups water

Bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the tea and ginger soak in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or leaves and pour the concentrated tea into a jug. Fill the rest of the jug with cool water. Put the tea in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to chill. Then enjoy!

And did you know you could Make Your Own Ginger Ale? 

It's used so much in bar drinks. Make your own so you can indulge a little.  These recipes of course, calls for sugar. You will want to use a substitute and use it to taste and according to the directions for using that substitute in place of sugar in recipes. Hopefully your tastebuds are adapting to your better diet and you no longer like things to be as nauseatingly sweet as most commercial products.

2 Cup cold water
1 Cup lime juice
4 tsp fresh ginger - mince or grate
3/4 Cup superfine sugar or substitute of course, use to taste
3 Cups sparkling water or seltzer water

Process water, lime juice and ginger in blender

Strain through cheesecloth into pitcher

Stir in sweetener to dissolve, add sparkling water.

If you like it, it might be worth getting a seltzer maker so you can make the seltzer water from your own filtered water.

Here's another:

Ginger ale

3 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup peeled and chopped ginger root
2 TBS vanilla
1 TBS lemon extract
1/4 tsp stevia concentrate powder
Carbonated or sparkling water

How to Prepare:
Rapidly boil ginger root in water for 10 minutes. Strain and place liquid in a jar. Stir in vanilla, lemon and stevia. Cool and store in the refrigerator.

Alton Brown's Ginger Ale:

This one is fermented with yeast to provide the carbonation. I'm sure you can reduce/substitute most of the sugar, but you probably need at least a tablespoon to feed the yeast. And you might want to read all the comments before trying it or if you don't like the results of your first batch. Reviewers suggest quite a few variations, doubling of ginger, using brewers yeast instead, etc.


* 1 1/2 ounces finely grated fresh ginger
* 6 ounces sugar
* 7 1/2 cups filtered water
* 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Place the ginger, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the water into a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for 1 hour.

Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, pressing down to get all of the juice out of the mixture. Chill quickly by placing over and ice bath and stirring or set in the refrigerator, uncovered, until at least room temperature, 68 to 72 degrees F.

Using a funnel, pour the syrup into a clean 2-liter plastic bottle and add the yeast, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups of water. Place the cap on the bottle, gently shake to combine and leave the bottle at room temperature for 48 hours. Open and check for desired amount of carbonation. It is important that once you achieve your desired amount of carbonation that you refrigerate the ginger ale. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, opening the bottle at least once a day to let out excess carbonation.

1 Ginger's Many Evidence-Based Health Benefits Revealed

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolve to Take Charge of your Health and Your Skin. Eat right. Sleep right. And move right.

All these things are so important for your health. And for your skin.  We've discussed how to eat right at length and touched moving right, but for a reminder move around a lot every day. Now. About sleep.

Yes, sleep affects acne and aging of skin.

So much is timed by a proper wake sleep cycle, including the production and release of hormones. All kinds of hormones.  And hormones are what control how your body functions.They are your metabolism.

Sleep affects insulin sensitivity

Lack of sleep plays just as important a role in developing diabetes as diet and obesity. The connection has been known for several years, but this past fall researchers discovered that lack of sleep reduces insulin sensitivity in fat cells by 30%.1   And remember, elevated blood sugar and insulin stimulates the excess hormones, over production of skin cells and chronic silent inflammation that lead to acne formation and loss of elasticity in skin.2

And speaking of obesity, sleep also negatively affects leptin and ghrelen which stimulate appetite and let your brain know you are full. People who sleep less, often weigh more. Besides the leptin/ghrelin thing, when you are less tired, you are less likely to crave those quick energy sugary refined carbs.

And speaking of chronic inflammation, people with poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation exhibit increased levels of interleukin-6 (IL6), the chemical that causes inflammation throughout the body.3 Start browsing through studies on acne and you'll find talk about IL6 everywhere!

And of course, lack of sleep affects your mood and ability to cope with stress, brain function and more.4  But we'll have to explore those things in another post.

So, You need to sleep well. And doing so requires regular exposure to bright light and to darkness.

Get outside during the day!

Bright light stimulates the pituitary and hypothalamus and thus influences the levels of nearly every hormone in your body.  And by bright light, I mean going outdoors.  Even the bright fluorescent office lights aren't enough.  Ever notice how hard it is to read your laptop or tablet display outdoors, even in the shade?  That's because it's brighter out there.  This bright light stimulates seratonin production.

Seratonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep and has some influence on cognitive functions involving  memory and learning.  This bright light exposure is step one to getting a good night sleep.

Bright light exposure even affects your digestion 5  We are meant to be outdoors. Try to get outdoors before or during lunchtime. Walk to lunch and eat outside if possible.

While you are at it, try to spend some of your outdoor time exposed to the sun to produce vitamin D, a vitamin that's really a hormone and incredibly important to the immune system, bone formation and more. And one of the many things it affects is how skin cells are formed and shed, which means it affects acne.

Avoid artificial light at night!

Reduce exposure to artificial light at night.  Darkness signals that it's time to start converting that seratonin to melatonin, the neurotransmitter that puts you to sleep and keeps you asleep.  Dim the lights in the evening. Avoid blue tone lights in particular, such as that coming from your computer screen.  If you need to work into the evening, there are filters and software that can change the light hitting your eyes to a reddish tint that won't interfere with melatonin conversion.  F.lux is free downloadable software that automatically changes the tone of the light on your monitor to red each evening near sunset.

Sleep in complete darkness and do not turn on lights if you get up during the night. You'll stop the melatonin!

The Circadian Cycle

This daily cycle of exposure to bright light in the daytime and darkness at night is called your circadian cycle or rhythm.  And it regulates so many processes in your body.  You want to mimic as natural a cycle as you possibly can.  Spending all day indoors in dim light and nights in artificial light muddy up the whole seratonin/melatonin cycle making you feel fatigued during the day and impairing your ability to sleep at night. If you find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at night no matter how tired you are, look to your circadian cycle.

Scientists Finding Out What Losing Sleep Does to a Body
Effects of dim or bright-light exposure during the daytime on human gastrointestinal activity.

Good Things for Sleep

-Keep a regular sleep schedule with an early bedtime. Mimic the natural pre-electricity age as much as possible.
-Get plenty of bright light, preferably sunlight, during the day. Get outside. Do it in the morning, before lunch and before you get that afternoon slump. 
-Slow down and relax in evenings. No exercise within 3-4 hours of bedtime.
-Darkness at night. Dim lighting in evening. Sleep in complete darkness. Again, mimic nature as much as possible. Avoid the blue light from electronics. Don't turn on lights if you get up during the night. Get dim night lights for bathroom if you must.
-Exercise during the day to very early evening. Not within a few hours of bedtime. But do stretch and try some deep breathing before bed.
-Wear socks to bed. warm feet and hands cause blood vessels to enlarge, allowing more heat to escape your body, which in turn lowers your core temperature faster. 
-Shower or bathe before bed. Also about body temp, but also just plain makes you feel better. 
-Eat dinner early and have only a very small snack of some sleep enhancing food near bedtime. 
-Consume nutrients that boost seratonin production:
---methionine, folate, B12, B6, TMG (betaine), zinc, C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. And of course, the amino acid tryptophanFoods containing tryptophan or melatonin include banana, dairy products, oats, rice, pumpkin/sunflower seeds and any complete protein. Consume some early in the day to produce seratonin.

Magnesium also relaxes muscles and affects the  function of the pineal gland that detects light and dark. A great way to get it is via an epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfide.The magnesium is absorbed through the skin and the sulfur is healing for skin problems, including acne.

Also try chamomile tea to help you relax in the evenings. And green tea in the daytime.  Green tea is one of the richest sources of L-Theanine which supports the production of GABA which helps you deal with stress.   But because of the caffeine, avoid it in the afternoon and evening.